Been a hectic day today and have not had a chance to write about the biggest news story of the day here in Charlotte. The Panthers cut Jake Delhomme yesterday and made it official today in a press conference that featured Coach Fox and General Manager Marty Hurney, who were both emotional when talking about having to release him (Matt Moore has now been moved to the starting QB slot after his impressive performances in the second half of the season last year). Delhomme was even more emotional at his presser, and understandably so. The Panthers were the first NFL franchise that gave him a chance, and he’s been here for seven years, and was completely devoted to making things happen.
As we all know, Jake did have a bad year last year, but the guy overall has been pretty solid in the time he’s been here. He’s one of the types of players every NFL team loves: completely selfless, a total team player, and a fiery, emotional team leader who also has a humorous side. Even in the glory days, he never tried to make everything all about him. He wasn’t flashy, but his face was well-known here, in Bojangle’s chicken ads and Time Warner Cable commericals. He also did a lot of local community service/charity type work.
There’ve been a few cracks around town that Jake shouldn’t be crying because he’ll be getting $13 million from his contract deal w/ the Panthers. I call BS on that one. Players who are in it solely for the money don’t cry when they get released from the team they’ve called home for so many years. He has clearly always loved this team and leaving it will be very hard for him.
He indicated during his presser that he is not planning on retiring, and that he holds no ill will towards the Panthers for their decision (nor do I). And he noted that his heart will always be Carolina Panther blue and black:
Delhomme said he couldn’t make eye contact with several longtime employees while sitting on the podium Friday because he would break down. The horse owner also vowed his heart will always be with the first franchise that gave him a chance to start.
“My horse racing silks have a Panther blue and black football. I’m not changing my silks,” Delhomme said. “I’m always going to be a Carolina Cajun.”
Rock on, man, and best wishes to you and your family.